Designing the user Interface of a Technical Application


Publication date



Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences

Document type


Master in Universal Design of ICT


This study evaluates and suggests improvements that are focused on usability, for the user interface of OLGA. OLGA is a simulator that is used in flow assurance and is a user interface and a simulator that allows users to build and define models of production systems, and simulate the transport of multiphase fluids within that system, including the visualization of the simulation results in line charts. Usability is a broad concept that has multiple perspectives and different approaches to the operationalizations of usability. Additionally, a majority of current usability literature and studies are mainly focused on mainstream users and interfaces for web-applications and systems that rarely require domain specific knowledge. We learn that further development of OLGA, should focus on improvements focused on stability and efficiency of the interface and bundled tools. Additional effort should be focused on updating and improving the documentation to assist in filling gaps in knowledge, for novices and experienced users. Furthermore, integrated plotting functionality, which has not been updated in recent versions, may benefit of a more focused effort to fix bugs, improvements to completing common tasks, and replacing the current configuration window with a task-oriented interface. Additional improvements, includes increasing the accessibility to plots and provide functionality for exporting data. In this report, we discuss relevant concepts, such as, usability, design and user-centered design, including different perspectives, guidelines and methodologies. We present and discuss current literature that is focused on usability design for technical and domain-specific systems. A detailed presentation and discussion about the graphical user interface of OLGA is provided, followed by the results from individual interviews, focus groups and the evaluator’s observations and experiences when using the system, including aspects that are relevant for universal design. Additionally we present suggestions and concept designs based on the gathered information. Finally, we discuss the project and present factors that can be used to operationalize usability specifically for OLGA.


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